Enterprise, Ala., March 2. 2007 -- Daniel Doster is one big fella and it's not any surprise he's spent three year's of fall Friday night's playing football for the Enterprise High School Wildcats.
The stadium where Daniel relished the thrill of the game is now littered with debris. The goal posts that once stood on the field - one is completely gone, the other is a twisted piece of garbage. It only takes seconds or inches to change the outcome of a game. On Thursday Daniel saw what a few seconds, a few inches could mean to a life.
On the day the tornado invaded his life, Daniel found himself in the third hall of the school where the most severe damage occurred. Daniel says he'll eventually get over what he saw and move forward, but "it will sit with me a long time."
"I was in the third hall. The hall that took most of the damage and I was actually the next one to be hit, because the debris stopped right on my leg - so it was really rough."
Daniel says before the storm hit everything "just went pitch black in the school, the lights went out - everything. And of course you could hear a little rumble in the background and then my ears started to pop from the pressure so I just said, 'Everybody get down now.' So everybody ducked and I grabbed two or three people and just rolled over on top of them and sand burns just came everywhere because shingles and the sand were being thrown everywhere. But after that everybody just stood up and started helping get debris off of people - nobody was worried about themselves..or anything."
Daniel says he knew pretty quickly there were some serious injuries to his peers. "What happened on the third hall was the walls fell in and then the roof came down on top of it. There was one girl that ...both of her legs were trapped under it and another girl who was leaning forward and her body was completely on the ground under the roof. So that's when we really noticed. We were bleeding but even those bleeding people were helping people out."
He saw another horrible injury. "One guy we got out but both of his arms and one of his legs was broken so it was pretty rough."
Daniel says he knows at least five names of students that died. "The five names I've heard I know all five of them."
People were not the only thing Daniel found in a damaged condition. His red truck found it's way into a nearby house. "The tornado took it and rolled it probably 40-50 yards and then picked it up and right now it's upside down in somebody's living room." That living room was in a house on Andrews Street another area hit hard by the storm.
He says after he helped get people to Hillcrest Baptist Church he had come to the school parking lot to locate his vehicle and couldn't find it. "And so I walked around here and sure enough it was in somebody's home."
Daniel did locate one memento. Clutching his senior tassel in his hand he says, "I'm just happy to have that at least." The tassel had still been hanging on his rearview mirror in the upside down truck.
Daniel says he believes students will be out of class at least a week to a week and a half "just to figure out what's going on, so I haven't really heard anything yet." He's not sure where he will get his diploma.
"This is my last four months of school and I don't know where I'm going to graduate now. I've lived in Enterprise since I was four, so I grew up here in Hillcrest."
But the young athlete says everybody's sprit and pride will see the school through and he's sure the people of his city can be counted on. "I know everybody in Enterprise is willing to help right now so things will be okay."